Evil Motives

As I’ve said before, I have a habit of judging works of fiction by their bad guys. I therefore pay a lot of attention to my own bad guys. One thing I initially had trouble with, but have since gotten good at, is coming up with motivations for the bad guys. After all, even if you’ve come up with a memorable and dangerous supervillain, you still have to be able to answer the question of, “Why is he being evil?” Here, therefore, is a list of possible answers to that question, with examples in parenthesis. There are, of course, other examples than the ones I list.

Warning: Many of these links are to YouTube videos. There will be sound.

  1. Wants to take over the world (Sauron, Emperor Palpatine, and Voldemort all qualify, but Pinky and the Brain are this straight up)
  2. Wants to destroy the world (the Burning Legion)
  3. Instinctively attempting to feed (the Tarrasque, most zombies)
  4. Instinctively attempting to defend itself or its kind (the Horta)
  5. Doing it for sport (the Joker)
  6. Wants money (Gordon Gekko)
  7. Wants revenge (Nero)
  8. Wants to destroy a specific group (There was this one German guy whose name escapes me) Continue reading

Disney Villains

I love Disney villains. So rarely do you get bad guys who not only openly admit to being evil, but actually sing about it. I mean, Voldemort likes his followers to call him “the Dark Lord,” and Darth Vader talks about the Dark Side, but Dark is not Evil (a topic for a future post). No, only Disney villains truly take pride in their evilness, and can actually sing about it. Or even better, make their minions sing about it, and kill them for singing it wrong.

Here I’m thinking of Ratigan, the Professor Moriarty expy in The Great Mouse Detective. I’m going to insist you watch his villain song on the YouTube: The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind. Read more after you’ve watched that. Continue reading

Good Bad Guys

I, personally, tend to judge works of fiction by how much I like the bad guy. The Phantom Menace, for example, was a bad movie largely because the ostensible bad guy, the Trade Federation boss, was an obvious pushover. He had a stupid accent, no powers or combat skills, and his droid army was generic and forgettable. He nearly got beaten by the Jedi in the first 10 minutes of the movie, and only survived because, quote, “They’le no mush for dloidekas!” Even though Darth Sidious had a cameo, he didn’t do anything. Darth Maul could have save the movie, but he had like one line, and was just Sidious’s lackey anyway. No, the real bad guy of the movie was Nute Gunray, the wacky alien. When I saw Phantom Menace, I just watched him, thinking to myself, “Your evil plan is to make the Queen sign a contract? Come on, I could do better than that.”

Now, Attack of the Clones had Count Saruman Dooku. Now this bad guy was a breath of fresh air (well, putrid air, but you get what I mean). Maybe he wasn’t the most evil bad guy ever. I liked him, though. I think his “Join me, Obi-Wan” speech was pretty lame, but then he chains up Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padme in an arena, and sets monsters to eat them. That’s some Bond villain sh– right there. And then he beats up the two Jedi, and freakin’ Yoda has to come in and save them. Even then, he gets away by nearly dropping a roof on Obi-Wan.

Revenge of the Sith was all about Palpatine. Now he was masterful. Two words and seven punctuation marks. “UNLIMITED POWER!!!!!” Continue reading

Sci-Fi Setting: Humans Are Not Average

It seems to me that every time humans are mentioned in fantasy or science fiction settings that include other races, humans are average. This applies to most games that give a choice of races to play, or to science-fiction settings that include a whole gallery of aliens.

That gave me the idea for a setting where humans are decidedly non-average in some way. The story, which I have neither plot nor characters for, would take place in modern times. But the backstory would go back about 1,000 years, to when aliens landed on Earth. These particular aliens were explorers, seeking only to catalog the local flora and fauna on the planet. They landed in Northern Europe, and were dismayed when their studies turned up a version of the bubonic plague that had not yet evolved to attack humans. According to their calculations, there was a 98.2% chance that this plague would evolve into a superbug and cause a planet-wide die-off of humans and other animal species. These explorers didn’t have the medical technology to avert the crisis, so they decided to rescue as many humans as they could with their spaceship, and take them back to civilized space to start anew, with alien technology to help them adapt.

Nine hundred years later, the descendents of those original humans who were “saved” are now an equal part of a interplanetary federation of sentient species, far away from the presumed ruined world of Earth. Another explorer ship travels to Earth to investigate strange radio transmissions, and discovers humans still on Earth, quietly building an impressive society of their own. The aliens decide not to open contact with Earth yet, merely to observe for the time being. Continue reading